Walk The Line (DVD)

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Walk The Line (DVD)

Primarily the story of the love that grew between country stars Johnny Cash and June Carter during the early years of Cash's career, WALK THE LINE is ...

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Review of "Walk The Line (DVD)"

published 08/06/2006 | sunmeilan
Member since : 05/05/2005
Reviews : 1138
Members who trust : 360
About me :
Not around quite so much at the moment - new job and mum getting married - will catch up when I can.
Pro Great acting
Cons Not particularly exciting
very helpful
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"The tale of Johnny Cash"

My mum saw this a few weeks ago and highly recommended it, so as soon as it came out on DVD, I borrowed it from my local DVD store. Johnny Cash, about whom this film is about, is a household name, I know, although I have to admit I know very little about his music. Nevertheless, I've enjoyed the last few biopics I've seen about famous people I'd hardly heard of, so I was pretty sure that I'd find this one interesting, all the more so because it is based on Cash's own autobiography.

The story
Born in Arkansas to a cotton farmer, Johnny Cash wants to be a musician, but marrying early and having a child means that he is unable to fulfil his dream. That is, until one day he gets taken on by a record label and shoots to fame alongside other well-known singers such as Elvis Presley. Travelling around the country with his band, he meets the beautiful June Carter and falls in love with her. Unfortunately, June is also married and neither wish to break up their marriages, so the two just remain friends.

However, his relationship with his wife, Vivien, never strong, begins to go downhill rapidly. He is frequently travelling with his band and begins to take drugs. Eventually Vivien comes to the end of his tether and throws him out. Down and out, Johnny's life seems to be over, but then June comes to his rescue.

The actors/characters
Reese Witherspoon plays the role of June. Without her trademark blonde hair, she still manages to look fantastic and completely natural. I have always liked Reese Witherspoon as an actress. Although she has often played ditzy roles in chick flick films, such as Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama, I always felt she played them with a depth that you don't usually get from actresses in this type of role. I really think that this has been proved in Walk the Line. As June, she plays the attention-seeking tart with a heart to absolute perfection. Her tenderness towards Johnny when he is suffering is truly touching. I'm so pleased that finally she has had a role that she can truly get her teeth into.

Joaquin Pheonix as Johnny Cash is also pretty good. I haven't seen any films that I can think of that have starred Joaquin Pheonix before, so I didn't have a prior opinion of his acting skills. However, he played the role as a talented singer with drug problems convincingly. I still think that Reese is the better actor, but Joaquin certainly complemented her beautifully.

The director
James Mangold is not a name I had heard of before, so I was surprised to find that he had directed Identity, Girl Interrupted and Kate & Leopold. I have to admit I hated Kate & Leopold, but the other films were excellent. I will certainly watch out for his films from now on.

Technical bits

Length of film: 136 minutes

Classification: 12

I always think it is difficult to compare biopics with other major films. After all, it is rare that someone's real life story is as exciting as a film made with someone's imagination. Although Walk the Line is a good film, all the more fascinating because it is a true story, it is not a particularly exciting film and I don't think that it was supposed to be. What does stand out about this film is the acting, particularly that of Reese Witherspoon.

I found it difficult to get very excited about the music. I'm not particularly a fan of country and western music and I'm not at all familiar with any of Johnny Cash's music, so it all went over the top of my head. For someone that is familiar, however, such as my mum, it obviously helps make the film. I do like the idea of making films about stars that are no longer alive - whether you're a fan or not, Johnny Cash made a great contribution to the music industry and deserves to be remembered. And this film was certainly a fitting tribute.

I'm glad I've seen this film. I'd heard so much about it and although I didn't think it was brilliant, it was certainly well worth a watch, particularly if you happen to be a Johnny Cash fan. Recommended, with four stars.

I didn't watch the extras and so am reviewing the film only version. If you do want to watch the DVD, it is available from play.com for £12.49.

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Comments on this review

  • jesi published 21/08/2006
    I watched this at the Cinema with my husband. At the time it wasn't a category yet, so I didn't write a review, but I was impressed. My husband didn't know anything about the singer before we watched the film and we were both impressed with the quality of the singing by both leads! ♥♥ ! ~ ~ .................................................................................................... ~ ♥ ~ jes ~ ♥♥
  • AimeeLouise18 published 23/07/2006
    I'm watching this later on this afternoon so hoepfully I'll enjoy it :) Good review :) Aimee xxx
  • missy0303 published 14/06/2006
    I've been wanting to see this for a while.....may hire it out at weekend x
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Product Information : Walk The Line (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Primarily the story of the love that grew between country stars Johnny Cash and June Carter during the early years of Cash's career, WALK THE LINE is the result of intense collaboration between director James Mangold, co-writer Gill Dennis, Johnny Cash, and June Carter Cash. Though both Cashes died in 2003, they oversaw the script's development for seven years. Mangold and Cash's insistence that the film's stars would actually sing paid off. Witherspoon's singing (as June) is lovely, and Phoenix's contains the raw energy and soul that defined Cash's sound. Even as a child on a cotton farm in Depression-era Arkansas, Cash shows a strong interest in music, escaping from his no-frills life and strict father (Robert Patrick) through hymns and listening to the radio. When his brother dies in a freak accident, young Johnny feels responsible, and worries that he will never live up to his brother's goodness. The film follows Cash through his first marriage with Vivian Cash (Ginnifer Goodwin) and into the early stages of his touring career alongside such musicians as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, and most importantly, June Carter. As Cash's success grows, so does his relationship with drugs, alcohol, and Carter, putting a strain upon his family life. From his initial audition with Sam Phillips of Sun Records on through his legendary 1968 concert at Folsom Prison, Cash is transformed from a hesitant singer riddled with demons to a man whose uniquely bold style would make music history. WALK THE LINE never attempts to paint a full picture of Cash's prolific career, but instead focuses on the passions that drove his music and on the woman who gave him strength. With magical performances by Witherspoon and Phoenix, a haunting and inspiring American romance is brought beautifully to life.


Listed on Ciao since: 18/04/2006